Parents urged to book MMR jabs for children after uptake slumped

Parents are urged to book MMR jabs for children after uptake slumped during Covid pandemic

  • Fears cases could soar with one in ten children starting school unprotected
  • The NHS’s Steve Russell said the jab ‘is safe for your child and will protect them’ 
  • Complications from measles, mumps and rubella can be life changing

DOCTORS fear 740,000 children are at risk of deadly measles after vaccinations plunged during the pandemic.

Uptake of the two measles, mumps and rubella jabs was the lowest in a decade during Covid and is yet to catch up.

Measles can cause pneumonia and brain inflammation. Health chiefs fear cases could soar, with one in ten children starting school unprotected. They are contacting parents of children between one and six who have not yet had both doses, urging them to visit their GP.

The NHS’s Steve Russell said the jab ‘is safe for your child, and will protect them, their friends and the wider community’.

Measles, mumps and rubella are highly infectious illnesses that can easily spread between unvaccinated people. Complications from these diseases can be potentially life changing.

Health chiefs fear cases could soar, with one in ten children starting school unprotected. They are contacting parents of children between one and six who have not yet had both doses, urging them to visit their GP

Children need two doses of the safe and effective MMR vaccine, with the first dose given around the child’s first birthday, and the second dose given at around three years and four months old. Both doses are needed to ensure full and lasting protection against measles, mumps and rubella.

The NHS has also sent out over 1.5 million invitations to parents of two to three years olds to get their flu vaccination ahead of winter. Where possible, children can receive their MMR catch up vaccine at the same time as their flu vaccine.

Mr Russell said: “Measles, mumps and rubella easily spread between unvaccinated people and can be very serious, so it is important that parents make sure their children are protected against MMR as they return to school, and are up to date with their flu vaccination if eligible as we head into the winter months.

“The MMR vaccine is one of the most studied vaccines in the world, with millions of doses given every year – it is safe for your child, and will protect them, their friends and the wider community from these unpleasant but preventable diseases. If your child hasn’t been vaccinated yet, or is not up to date with their vaccinations, please contact your GP to book an appointment.”

The NHS national immunisation programme is highly successful in reducing the number of serious and infectious diseases such as whooping cough, diphtheria and measles, and high levels of vaccine uptake in the community can prevent the spread of these unpleasant but preventable infections.

Parents and carers can find out more about the different vaccines their child should have and when by visiting www.nhs.uk and searching for ‘NHS vaccinations and when to have them’.

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